Ramayana is one of the greatest Hindu epics and one of the world’s oldest poems. It is an ancient Sanskrit epic that follows Lord Rama’s quest to rescue his beloved wife, Sita, from Ravana with the help of an army of monkeys.
Like all the great Hindu epics, Ramayana too has molded all the Hindus’ lifestyles and cultures. Among thousands, one such custom which has been an auspicious part of our festivals is the Vivah Panchami which honors the marriage anniversary of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita.
‘Vivah’ means marriage, and ‘Panchami’ means fifth-day Vivah Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha during the month of ‘Margashirsha.’
The story of Ram Sita’s Marriage
Ramayana says Maharishi Vishwamitra approached the emperor of Ayodhya, King Dasharath, asking for protection of the Yajna from the rakshasa. With great reluctance, Dasharath sent his children Rama and Lakshmana along with Vishwamitra as per the advice of his Guru Vasishta.
Sage Vishwamitra’s Yajna was completed under the protection offered by Rama and Lakshmana, so the sage was highly pleased. Ensuing, Guru Vishwamitra took the prince of Ayodhya to Mithila. At the same time, King Janaka, the ruler of Mithila, was conducting a contest to choose the right match for his daughter Sita.
As mentioned in Ramayana, On the Panchami tithi of ‘Margashira,’ Lord Rama visited the Kingdom of Janaka, Mithila. King Janak organized a ‘Swayamvar’ ceremony in his kingdom, where he invited powerful kings and princes of various kingdoms. His daughter Sita was supposed to choose a groom for herself among them.
However, the condition for marrying Sita was to lift the Dhanush of Lord Shiva named Pinaka and string it to prove their prowess. In doing so, everybody failed even to raise it as the bow was huge and heavy. Then, upon instructions from Viswamitra, Rama strung the bow successfully and broke it into two pieces during the process. Everyone was stunned with awe, and King Janak was highly pleased and overwhelmed. As a result, King Janaka married his daughter Janaki (Sita) to Lord Rama.
During the grand marriage ceremony, the brothers of Rama, namely Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughan, were also married to Mandavi, Urmila, and Shuddhakirti, respectively.
Vivah Panchami is considered a very auspicious day as it marks the ceremonial wedding anniversary of Shri Ram and Mata Sita. Hence, the celebrations begin several days in advance in many places in Nepal and India.
Celebration of Vivah Pachami
The celebrations of Vivah Panchami are notable in Lord Rama temples, particularly in the Mithilanchal region, Nepal, Ayodhya, and other areas of North India. The day holds immense significance at Janakpur in Nepal, as it is believed that the first ceremony was held there. Along with Janakpur (birthplace of Maa Sita), the festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram.
The entire event is also known as ‘Ram Vivah Utsav’ when the temples are lit brightly with lamps, and the celebrations involve the enactment of the wedding ceremony. A grand procession leaves from one temple to another and ends with the wedding ceremony in the evening. The idols of Shri Ram and Mata Sita are adorned with beautiful clothes and jewelry to make them look like bridegroom and bride. Devotees sing devotional songs in praise of Lord Ram and Devi Sita throughout the day.
Several stage shows, dramas, and cultural programs are also organized on Vivah Panchami. Ramleela, a stage performance that depicts the life of Lord Ram and Devi Sita, is also observed. On this day, devotees take a holy bath in the lakes of Mithilanchal (‘Dhanushsagar,’ ‘Gangasagar,’ and ‘Argaza Pond’) as a part of the rituals.
In Janakpurdham, Nepal, thousands of pilgrims arrive, many from India and other parts of Nepal. Special rituals and pujas are held in temples, where the celebrations are observed with great fanfare. The celebrations continue for seven days, and devotees observe all the practices with immense zeal and dedication.
Thousands of devotees visit the temples to seek the divine blessings of a happy family and married life. This festival is one the best occasion to visit Janakpur to observe the culture and traditional values of the place.
Puja Vidhi of Vivah Panchami
The Puja Bidhi or ritual procedure for Vivaha Panchami varies depending on the specific locality and customs. However, the general procedures remain the same in most of the community. Before starting, the Shubh Muhurat (best puja time) is decided for Puja based on Panchang.
- The devotees wake up early in the morning and take a bath to purify themselves before starting the puja.
- They then decorate the puja area with flower garlands, rangoli, and other decorative items.
- Sri Rama and Mata Sita’s idols or pictures are placed in the puja area, and offerings such as flowers, fruits, sweets, and coconut are placed in front of them.
- The puja begins with the recitation of mantras and prayers dedicated to Lord Rama and Sita.
- Devotees perform Aarti by lighting a camphor or earthen lamp or oil/ghee lamp in front of the idols and offering flowers and sweets.
- Some people also read or listen to the story of Lord Rama and Sita’s marriage, especially the Bala Kanda’s section, and offer special prayers for their own happy marital life. They sing and listen to Rama Bhajans and Religious songs.
- The puja concludes with distributing prasad or sacred food among the devotees.
In some regions, a wedding ceremony is also conducted on Vivah Panchami day, where the bride and groom dress up like Bhagwan Shri Rama and Sita Mata, and the ceremony is performed as per the Hindu wedding rituals.
FAQs on Vivah Pachami
What is the date of Vivah Panchami?
As per Hindu Panchang, Vivah Panchami is on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Margashirsha. The date for Vivah Panchami 2023 is December 17. The previous date of Vivah Panchami 2022 was on November 28.
Can we marry on ‘Vivah Panchami’?
While Vivah Panchami is a momentous day for Hindus and marks the auspicious occasion of Bhagwan Rama and Goddess Sita’s marriage, it might not be auspicious for everyone to conduct their weddings on this day. It is always recommended to consult with an experienced Hindu priest or astrologer to determine which Tithis are better suited to get married.
What is the specialty of Panchami?
Panchami is considered a significant day for performing auspicious activities such as fasting, worship, and charity. We, Hindus, worship many Devis, Rishis, and Bhagwans during this Tithi, and celebrate the wide range of festivals like Vivah Panchami, Nag Panchami, Rishi Panchami, Devi Pachami, Skanda Panchami and Vasanta Panchami.